Frank Mugisha, Acting Commissioner Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Department says that after the tour of the five blocks, the companies will have up to 30th June to submit their applications, without any further deadline extension.
New companies intending to invest in the exploration of
Uganda’s oil and gas industry starting next year, have embarked on the tour of
the oil fields that the government has put up on the market.
The four companies shortlisted for the final round of the second
competitive oil bidding round are Total E & P Activites Petrolieres, France; DGR Global Limited,
Australia; Uganda National Oil Company Limited (UNOC) Uganda and a joint venture
of PetroAfrik Energy Resources East Africa Ltd, Uganda and Niger Delta
Petroleum Resources Ltd, Nigeria.
Chinese company CNOOC, which is already involved in the current
activities, will partner with Total following the
short-listing, the companies have been allowed to move around the block for
further details before they decide on whether to continue and which areas to
had applied for qualification to bid for the licenses, but only four were
Hanny Malinga, the Acting Director Geological Survey and Mines and the Ministry
of Energy and Mineral Development confirmed the development.
Frank Mugisha, Acting Commissioner Petroleum Exploration, Development
and Production Department says
that after the tour of the five blocks,
the companies will have up to 30th June to submit their applications,
without any further deadline extension.
//Cue in: So after that….
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The five blocks on offer in this second licensing round are Avivi,
Omuka, Kasuruban, Turaco and Ngaji in the Albertine Graben, all described as
highly prospective. After the evaluations of the bids, the government will enter into
another round of negotiations with the companies as part of the transparency
policies, also aimed at avoiding future disagreements.
"The next phase is to negotiate with the companies, before
the signing of the oil production sharing agreements," says Robert
Kasande, the permanent secretary at the ministry.
The blocks: Aviv which is Block 1, is in the northernmost in
Moyo District covering 1,026km2. In 2013, despite data showing there is a
petroleum system, Neptune Petroleum which was exploring the area hit three dry
wells and gave up.
Omuka, which is Block 2 is also located in
Buliisa District covering 750sq km, and like Aviv, three dry wells were drilled
in the block. Kasurubani, which is Block 3 and is also located
in the Buliisa area, was drilled by Tullow and oil was found, but the company
relinquished the block to the government, with Tullow Oil not sure it was as
viable as earlier expected. This is also the biggest of the blocks covering 1,285Sq
Turaco or Block 4 in the Bundibugyo-Ntoroko area,
is the smallest of the blocks at 635km2, underwent initial explorations and,
basing on seismic and ground gravity and magnetic data, Heritage Oil commenced
drilling and some hydrocarbons were encountered.
However, these were contaminated with carbon
dioxide and the Petroleum Authority, Uganda says that much as there is
technology to process produce this gas, at the time, the focus was only on oil.
the block to government. Ngaji (Block 5) which covers 1,230Sq km is
located in Mitooma District at the shores of Lake Edward.
Acting Commissioner, Frank Mugisha describes it
as “a bit controversial” because it is located in a highly protected
conservation area, and borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. “It would be very important for whoever gets the
contract to explore for oil in this area to work closely with stakeholders to
ensure the environment is protected,” he says.
This area is also near the Virunga Conservation Area in the DR
Congo, and is one of the reasons civil society is opposed to oil and gas
activities there. But Malinga says the much as Uganda has to protect the ecosystem
there from the effects of the activities, the area should not be attached to
the Virunga area, more than 100 km away.
//Cue in: “This thing….
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Malinga says investment in the sector is highly risky and
anything that causes uncertainty can lead the investors to go away, if they
sense high chances that they will not recover their money. The successful companies from the second round of licensing are
expected to be awarded the contracts to carry out exploration, by the December 31